Skip to main content

Shirts memorializing slain football player prompt legal threat

Connecticut's attorney general says this shirt is illegally using Howard's image and UConn's logo.
Connecticut's attorney general says this shirt is illegally using Howard's image and UConn's logo.
  • Connecticut's attorney general: T-shirts, towels violating state law
  • Merchandise memorializes UConn football player Jasper Howard
  • Howard, 20, was fatally stabbed this month after a campus dance
  • Attorney general: Company didn't register with charities unit, is illegally using images

(CNN) -- The Connecticut attorney general called on a Web site to stop selling T-shirts and towels memorializing slain University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard or face legal action.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Friday that, based in Pennsylvania, violated Connecticut state law by failing to register with the Public Charities Unit, and is also using copyrighted images of Howard and the UConn logo without the university's permission.

"I am demanding that immediately cease selling Jasper Howard merchandise in violation of state charity and copyright laws," Blumenthal said in a written statement. said on its Web site that the "situation has been completely misunderstood."

"First and foremost, this is a horrible tragedy and we felt compelled to contribute in any way we could. Our intentions have always been and will continue to be to contribute ALL PROCEEDS from Jasper Howard Memorial T-shirts and towels to the Jasper Howard Fund," it said.

It said the recent press had caught the owners "completely by surprise."

Howard, 20, was stabbed in the abdomen in a fight early Sunday after a student dance on the UConn campus in Storrs, authorities said. He died later at a Hartford, Connecticut, hospital.

The Jasper Howard Fund is one of two funds UConn's athletic department has established since Howard's death. The school says the fund will help Howard's family with funeral costs and will also go toward supporting his soon-to-be-born child.

No one has been charged in Howard's killing, which authorities have classified as a homicide.

Police said earlier this week that they were reviewing video given to them by tipsters.

Blumenthal wrote in a Friday letter to that its actions violated a Connecticut state law that requires all "commercial co-ventures be registered with the Public Charities Unit" and that all advertisements for a charitable sales promotion disclose "the amount per unit of goods or services purchased or used that is to benefit the charitable organization or purpose."

"Gameday Tease LLC has not complied with these charitable solicitation requirements," the attorney general wrote.

The attorney general noted that Bob's stores, Huskyware and the UConn Co-op have agreed to sell memorial Howard T-shirts to benefit the two charities. He urged people to shun other vendors.

UConn's football team fell 28-24 to West Virginia on Saturday. Before the noon game, a moment of silence was held for Howard, and the two teams shook hands.

The West Virginia Mountaineers also wore No. 6 on the back of their helmets as a tribute. A sign saying "Today we are all Huskies," which was signed by the West Virginia University community, hung in the UConn tunnel at the Mountaineers' Milan Puskar Stadium.

UConn football coach Randy Edsall said earlier this week that the team will wear Howard's initials on its helmets for the rest of the season, and take his helmet and jersey to all of its games.

A viewing will take place on Sunday in Miami, Florida, and a funeral will follow on Monday, according to UConn.